Researchers from Brazil’s University of São Paulo have found that hatha yoga breathing exercises can significantly improve lung function in children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a disease that often ends in premature death from respiratory failure.
The average age of the 26 children that completed the study was 9-and-a-half years old. Participants were taught how to perform hatha yoga breathing exercises and were instructed to perform them three times a day for 10 months. The researchers performed spirometry [breathing] tests before, during and after the study period. At the end of the 10 months of practice, the scientists found the breathing exercises improved both the children’s forced vital capacity (the volume of air that can forcibly be blown out after full inspiration) and forced expiratory volume in one second (the volume of air that can forcibly be exhaled in one second after full inspiration).